As you can hopefully tell from my last two posts, Edinburgh charmed me to bits. It was easy to fall in love with the stunning architecture, cobblestone streets, and friendly locals, but what about the food? While I was only there for 48 hours, I was happy to discover a vibrant foodie scene in Edinburgh that did not disappoint. That’s right, another food post. As always, I would not suggest reading this post on an empty stomach!
#1: The Dogs on Hanover Street
This eatery located in the center of New Town provides a no frills dining experience, serving up a wonderful combination of British and Scottish comfort food. The restaurant has a bit of a pub feel with its wooden table and chairs, but the room is very spacious and light. I heard mostly locals around me which was definitely a sign of good things to come. The service was fast and I ended up choosing the chicken pie based on our waiters recommendation.
To be more specific for all those foodies out there, I ordered a chicken, mushroom, potato and tarragon pie with puff pastry. The portions of perfectly tender chicken and potato were generous and it really was an excellent choice, especially on a chilly day. My friend went for the beef burger with black pudding, red onion jam, and crisp bacon which looked amazing and tasted just as good according to her. I have a confession though. Whenever we see macaroni and cheese on the menu, we just have to order it. This wasn’t an appetizer either, we basically ordered another meal to split. Worth it? Yes, yes, and yes. Was I too full to move after? Yes. Death by macaroni and cheese doesn’t sound all that bad though. Relax, I’m kidding…. mostly.
Our three dishes came to a grand total of 20 pounds which I believe to be a great value, considering you’re dining in the center of Edinburgh. I know I’ll be returning next time I’m visiting, perhaps for dinner or dessert. Their toffee mess and creamed rice pudding with cinnamon biscuit was calling out to me.
#2: Indian Lounge on Rose Street
This restaurant is also located in New Town, rather close to The Dogs. We were craving Indian food that day and had a place in mind which we discovered was closed on a Monday. What?! Not cool. Hungry and weak, we stumbled into Indian Lounge because, honestly, it was the next Indian restaurant we could find. I will admit that their large neon pink ‘INDIAN LOUNGE’ sign wasn’t too promising, but their £6.95 three course lunch menu was. Greatest decision we ever made.
I just love finding a good deal and this place offers one of the best in Edinburgh. For just under 7 pounds, I feasted on onion bhaji, naan, chicken tikka masala, and vanilla ice cream. I usually order chicken tikka masala every time I go out for Indian food and this one is definitely in my top three. Yes, I’m a chicken tikka masala connoisseur. The chicken was cooked to perfection and the curry had a great balance of sweetness and spice. My friend went for the butter chicken which was delicious, especially if you want something with less spice. Best of all, this place offered free wifi! Okay, the food was actually the best part, but the wifi is always a plus. I’d highly recommend Indian Lounge to tourists and locals alike. Don’t be afraid of their neon pink sign!
Ever since I went on the Savannah Taste Experience last fall, food tours are now one of my favorite things to do while traveling. In my opinion, there is no better way to get to know a city than through its food. Quick tip: I’d recommend taking a food tour at the beginning of your trip. Often times you’ll want to return to the places you visited and your guide will give you other suggestions around the city as well.
Our lovely Scottish guide and owner of Eat Walk Edinburgh, Alan Chambers, happily showed us around the city for three and a half hours on their Old and New Town Tour. Let me start off by saying that this is so much more than just a food tour. Alan knows his way around the city very well and teaches you about the fascinating history of Edinburgh and of the places you visit. I especially loved the small head sets he handed out which you can listen to as you’re walking around in a group. I’m always snapping photos during tours and am usually the last one to catch up to the group. These head sets allowed me to hear Alan from a distance and not miss out on what he was sharing while we walked from place to place.
During our tour, we visited a grand total of seven restaurants, shops, and bars. All of these places are locally owned, no chains allowed. You are served plenty of food and drink on the tour so that there is no need to go out for dinner (or lunch, depending on when you take the tour) afterwards. Trust me, you’ll be full. I’d love to share a few of my favorite stops.
Our small group met up at the beautiful Hotel Du Vin in the Old Town, which was a former city asylum with a rich history, as you can imagine. Nowadays, you can enjoy fine dining at their bistro which offers classic dishes with homegrown and locally produced ingredients. Here we enjoyed a starter sized portion of herring with an oatmeal crust and deliciously sweet lentils du puy on the side. I am a fan of sea food so I enjoyed trying herring for the first time. It was not too fishy and the subtle flavors combined with the oatmeal crust was very unique and worked well together.
Our tour continued through the gorgeous streets of Old Town just after the sun had set. I’d encourage anyone to explore Edinburgh on foot, day and night. I cannot say it enough, but it is truly one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. Another favorite stop on our tour was Demijohn, located on the famous and colorful Victoria Street. Demijohn is known as a liquid deli which offers delicious liqueur, whisky, wines, oils, vinegars, and so much more. This place is seriously cool and I was more than happy to sample some of their products. I’m a big fan of vodka so I went for the raspberry vodka liqueur and the organic rhubarb vodka liqueur. I honestly cannot pick which one was my favorite, they were both so tasty. Demijohn has forever ruined cheap vodka for me. Thanks a lot.
This would not be a proper Edinburgh food tour if we didn’t get the opportunity to try haggis. Despite what I thought I knew about haggis, this was (to my surprise) my favorite stop! Haggis was a common dish of the poor back in the day, made with leftover parts of a sheep. Sounds a bit scary, right? Alan reassured us that these days, haggis is now made from better ingredients, usually from a pig rather than the leftover intestines of a sheep. In his opinion, if you can stomach a hot dog, you can eat haggis. I was sold. Vegetarians, I’m sorry if you’re reading this. However, they actually make vegetarian haggis now in some pubs so there you go!
We visited The Scotch Malt Whiskey Society Club on beautiful Queen Street, housed in a lovely restored Georgian townhouse. While this is usually a member’s only club, I believe you can buy day passes to sample their whiskey and food! We were served a plate of haggis, neeps and tatties with a delicious beef stock and whiskey sauce. Or if you’re not Scottish, this is haggis with potatoes and turnips. This dish was so tasty and if we had time, I honestly would have returned to eat there again. Texture wise, haggis reminded me of falafel.
It was only right to sample some Scottish malt whiskey as well. This stuff is definitely not for any lightweights out there. With an alcohol content of 60%, it is common to water it down a bit, thank goodness.
Food tours with Eat Walk Edinburgh start at around 49 pounds. It’s important to note that three out of the seven stops provide alcohol, so if you’re not a drinker, the almost 50 pound price tag might not be worth it for you. I’d highly recommend taking this tour if this is your first time in Edinburgh. You learn so much about the city from an actual local and get to know other travelers in the process. Not to mention you get to eat and drink for almost four hours. Yes please!
Have you ever been to Edinburgh? Where are your favorite places to eat? I’d love to know!
Happy Travels 🙂
Note: I did receive a complimentary ticket for my Eat Walk Edinburgh Food Tour. Opinions are entirely my own. I would only ever recommend something that I actually enjoyed and support!